Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life is Relative to Christ

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Feast of St. John the Baptist provided the theme for Benedict XVI's reflections prior to praying the Angelus on Sunday morning with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope recalled how the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which fell on Friday, unites "popular devotion and profound theology." It "has its roots in the mystery of the Incarnation: it was through the Heart of Jesus that God's Love for humanity was sublimely expressed."

For this reason, devotion to the Sacred Heart "maintains all its validity, and particularly attracts those souls who thirst for God's mercy, who find there the everlasting source from which to draw the water of life capable of irrigating the deserts of the soul and bringing hope to flower."

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart also coincides with the Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. "I take this opportunity to invite everyone," the Pope said, "to pray for priests, that they may be valuable witnesses of Christ's love."

The Holy Father then went on to refer to the June 24 Feast of St. John the Baptist, pointing out that he "is the only saint whose birth is commemorated, because it marked the beginning of the fulfillment of the divine promises. ... His feast reminds us that our own life is ... always 'relative' to Christ, and that it is fulfilled by accepting Him, Word, Light and Bridegroom, of Whom we are voices, lamps and friends."

"Allowing the 'I' of Christ to take the place of our own 'I' was the exemplary aspiration of the Apostles Peter and Paul, whom the Church venerates" on June 29.

Following the Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned a recent accident on a motorway building site between the Italian cities of Catania and Siracusa, which claimed the life of one workman and injured many others. "I raise a special prayer to the Lord," he said, "and, in expressing my spiritual closeness to the injured and their relatives, I trust that ever greater attention to safety conditions in the workplace may prevent the repetition of such dramatic events."

Finally, Benedict XVI recalled that in Italy the Sunday prior to the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul marks the Day of the Pope's Charity . "I express my heartfelt thanks to the Italian ecclesial community for the prayers and support it gives to my ministry as Peter's Successor, called to serve all the People of God."

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